Gary Chapman's book Now You're Speaking My Language focuses on communication, which he claims is the most fundamental for building marital intimacy. Filled with practical principles and loads of activities for developing intimacy, this book will help grow the marriages of readers who are committed to applying the book's ideas to everyday life.
For me, one of the most practical bits of advice in the Now You're Speaking My Language comes early on. Chapman encourages couples to practice a daily sharing time to begin fostering marital intimacy. He suggests a bare minimum: "Tell three things that happened in your life today and how you feel about them." I think other principles in the book will help develop intimacy even more, but this is a great starting point, and for many marriages, it will take couples so much farther than they've ever been.
In the book Chapman also helps readers to identify unhealthy communication patterns and learn how to practice healthier communication patterns. Additionally, he leads readers to not only explore the five levels of communication, but to learn how to communicate with their spouses on every level. Chapman also contrasts contract marriage with covenant marriage, helping readers see that God's original design is that Christian couples experience covenant marriage, marriages lived in the power of Holy Spirit and based on steadfast love.
Later in Now You're Speaking My Language, Chapman addresses the importance of intimacy, defining intimacy as oneness--when two become one flesh--intellectually, socially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. He says, "The degree to which a Christian couple attains intimacy in each of these areas determines the degree of satisfaction in their marriage." He goes on to teach couples how to pursue intimacy in each area.
The end of each chapter features "Questions to Ponder" and "We Do" activities. The questions are thought-provoking, helping readers to explore thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, and then to begin thinking about how to apply the principles presented. The "We Do" activities are opportunities for couples to interact about the book's subject matter and begin taking steps to develop the intimacy they desires. My favorite "We Do" activity was at the end of chapter 18. Couples wrap themselves in a bed sheet as an illustration of how God's righteousness encases them.
For me, Now Your Speaking My Language is an amazing tool for growing intimacy in marriages. I recommend it for couples regardless of how long they've been married. With so many practical principles, it's almost guaranteed to help improve a couple's intimacy if they apply the principles they read about in the book. This is one I'll be recommending to newlyweds and to not-so-newlyweds alike. We can all use help building intimacy in marriage.
* I received a complimentary copy of the book from NetGalley for this honest review.